Hi All - I would like your opinion on the following :- I currently have a booking deposit on a house & just awaiting the “letter of offer” from the bank. The asking price was well in line with current drops & I shaved another 40K off my offer which was accepted….
Anyway, I had a engineer conduct a structural survey on the house & his report has identified some concerns about cracks on the exterior walls & a footpath to the side of the house which has dropped… In his report he states that it would be advisable that all underground pipe work systems are fully tested by way of hydrostatic testing and a camera survey. The results of these tests should be analysed in full as any escape of water from any source will have an adverse effect on the future performance of the structure. I had my brother in law whose living in the U.K. and is a construction engineer review the report and he felt that the cracks are in areas which are common and related to settlement. He wouldn’t be overly concerned but I should go along with the engineers recommendations and have the drains checked.
I have spoken to someone in the know & they advised me that this drain inspection could cost around €2.5K. I really don’t want to land out this cash.
My questions is now that I have identified a possible structural defect (subsidence) with the house which was not know at the time of the agreed sale. Is it the responsible of the seller to prove otherwise by conducting the drain test advised.
I know that they can tell me shag off but is this not something which they would have to address anyway if it is going to affect the valuations of the house.
I would appreciate any input before I approach my solicitor & EA.
I would push this back to the vendor if possible. If every engineer report that happens suggests a drain inspection, it’ll be in their interest to have it done… rather than every potential buyer forking out €2.5k every time.
If you’re keen on the place and feel you’ve squeezed every last cent out of the deal and its unlikely they’ll pay the €2.5k, perhaps offer to pay half or something like that… and give them a copy of the report to hold on to should you need to walk away afterwards.
I walked away from a house after I got the engineers report on it, new build too. The amount of money it would take to rectify issues was too great.
Firstly the vendor won’t pay for the Hydro test in most cases. Secondly a hydro test costs about €350, if it’s suspect get it done. That will give you a static test of all the drains,- they block it at the manhole and fill a cylinder and test the losses over a set time. Then they’ll do a camera inspection to see if there is any cracks/roots/backflows etc. Ask for a copy of the test.
They will also test the storm drains, these in most cases are Ubends so they should hold water. If they are old porceline drains, the likelyhood is they have cracked and no longer hold water. Instead it seeps out and undermines the ground around it. This is what commonly causes local subsidence. They must be replaced by PVC ones.
You could ask the vendors solicitor to sort it HOWEVER if they say no, then your solictor might refuse to sign off on the mortgage as they would be signing an impaired product to the bank as collateral.
If I was you I’d get it surveyed by both a drain specialist and discuss it with your engineer. If it is not too bad, by changing the drains you propably won’t have any more problems. But if you go down this route make sure the settling isn’t caused by general subsidance where the underlying strata is resulting in the cracks cause if it is you are screwed.
Talk to the neighbours and also ring Zurich insurance (they are very stringent) and get a quote for house insurance. They may refuse to quote you because of the age/location of the house. This will get you an idea of whether it is a specific or a general problem.
If it turns out it is just old drains consider paying yourself to get them dug up in the summer and get them changed. Then ring AA home insurance.
Best of luck with it.
You would be made not to give pushback to the seller for this item - it’s one of the main purposes of getting the report in my view. There is no seller in this country IMO that will walk away from a deal in the current environment for €2.5k. Anybody who is interested in this house will get the same advice from their surveyor so the seller is going to have to deal with this matter either with you or with some future buyer. P.S. - these reports have a tonne of CYA stuff in them and I agree with your brother in law that its probably unlikley to be a major issue. Mate of mine had a surveyor’s report on a house 20 years ago that said that the roof is in need of “immediate and substantial overhaul”. 20 years later he has the same roof and except for a bit of light maintenance the roof is perfectly fine.